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Dr Thommy Madiba B Dent Ther,BDS , DHSM, MChD ( Community Dentistry )

Dr Thommy Madiba B Dent Ther,BDS , DHSM, MChD ( Community Dentistry ) Senior Lecturer/Head of Clinical Unit. August 2019. Child protection and the dental team. August 2019. TOPIC. Overview. Introduction What can be considered abuse Categories of abuse

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Dr Thommy Madiba B Dent Ther,BDS , DHSM, MChD ( Community Dentistry )

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  1. Dr Thommy Madiba B Dent Ther,BDS, DHSM, MChD ( Community Dentistry) Senior Lecturer/Head of Clinical Unit August 2019

  2. Child protection and the dental team August 2019 TOPIC

  3. Overview Introduction What can be considered abuse Categories of abuse Recognising abuse and neglect The question of dental neglect What you need to do if abuse is suspected How to prepare the dental setting to safeguard children Children’s Act and its expectations on health professionals

  4. Introduction Protecting a child from those who can harm them is a shared responsibility for all Members of the dental team are in a position where they may observe the signs of child abuse and neglect. We have an ethical obligation to ensure that children are not at risk from our profession “The harm inflicted on children around the world is truly worrying,” “Babies slapped in the face; girls and boys forced into sexual acts; adolescents murdered in their communities – violence against children spares no one and knows no boundaries.” Unicef chief of Children Protection ,Cornelius Williams

  5. Why are dentists reluctant to report abuse? The major barrier in diagnosing and reporting is the lack of proper training either in the undergraduate curricula or in postgraduate continuing education courses. Other reasons include: -Ignorance of the seriousness of such maltreatment. - Fear of legal involvement. - Fear of confrontation with the family. - Limited confidence in the child protection services. - Fear of losing patients Vijayan A, Jayarajan J, Fathima BN, Shaj F. Detecting Child Abuse and Neglect:Are Dentists doing enough to reveal the “ Dirty Secret”. International Journal of preventive and Clinical Dental Research.2014;1(4): 85-92

  6. Who is a Child? Biologically, a child is a person between birth and puberty or the period of human development from infancy to puberty. 1 United Nations Convention on the rights of a child defines child as "a human being below the age of 18 years unless under the law applicable to the child,  majority is attained earlier“ The term child may also refer to someone below another legally defined age limit unconnected to the age of majority. In Singapore , a child is legally defined as someone under the age of 14 under the "Children and Young Persons Act" whereas the age of majority is 21 In U.S. Immigration Law, a child refers to anyone who is under the age of 21. 2 In the Children's Act of 2005 a child is anyone below the age of 18 1. Rathus SA (2013). Childhood and Adolescence: Voyages in Development. Cengage Learning. p. 48. ISBN1285677595. 2."8 U.S. Code § 1101 - Definitions". LII / Legal Information Institute

  7. What is the prevalence of child abuse? Three-quarters of the world’s 2- to 4-year-old children – around 300 million – experience psychological aggression and/or physical punishment by their caregivers Nearly a quarter of one-year-olds are physically shaken as punishment and nearly 1 in 10 are hit or slapped on the face, head or ears. Worldwide, around 15 million adolescent girls aged 15 to 19 have experienced forced sexual intercourse or other forced sexual acts in their lifetime. Globally, every 7 minutes an adolescent is killed by an act of violence. Half the population of school-age children – 732 million – live in countries where corporal punishment at school is not fully prohibited

  8. Prevalence in South Africa Violence against children in South Africa is one of the fundamental barriers to national development and children’s rights. A recent national prevalence survey found that around 1 in 3 children experience violence during their childhood (2015) Reporting rates are much lower, with around 41,000 cases reported to the police in 2015. Sexual violence is widespread and often recurrent, with 40 percent of child survivors having experienced sexual violence more than once and 1 in 10 reported four or more incidents of violence. Additionally 1 in five children are reporting to having been hit, beaten, or kicked by an adult. South Africa’s child homicide rate is double the global average .

  9. What then is abuse? Most child abuse occurs within a child’s own family by persons known to the child “A child is considered to be abused if he or she is treated in a way that is unacceptable in a given culture at a given time”. Actions or omissions or neglect Socially and culturally defined J. Harries.et.al .Child protection and the dental team

  10. Categories of abuse Abuse and neglect are described in four categories Physical abuse hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child Emotional Abuse persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development Sexual Abuse Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, including prostitution, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. Neglect Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs

  11. Child Abuse in terms of the Act Any form of harm or ill-treatment deliberately inflicted on a child, and includes: Assaulting a child or inflicting any other form of deliberate injury to a child; Sexually abusing a child or allowing a child to be sexually abused; Bullying by another child; A labour practice that exploits a child; or Exposing or subjecting a child to behaviour that may harm the child psychologically or emotionally; No. 38 of 2005: Children's Act, 2005

  12. What is care in relation to a child? Providing the child with place to live with conditions suitable to healthy well being, development and financial support Safeguarding and promoting the well-being of the child; Protecting the child from maltreatment, abuse, neglect, degradation, discrimination, exploitation and any other physical, emotional or moral harm or hazards; Respecting, protecting, promoting and securing the fulfilment of the child’s rights Guiding, directing and securing the child’s education and upbringing, including religious and cultural needs Appropriate to the child’s age, maturity and stage of development; Guiding, advising and assisting the child in decisions to be taken Appropriately (Age) Guiding the behaviour of the child in a humane manner; Maintaining a sound relationship with the child; Accommodating any special needs that the child Bill of Rights: Chapter 2 of the Constitution

  13. Recognizing abuse and neglect Abuse or neglect may present to the dental team in a number of different ways: -through a direct allegation (sometimes termed a ‘disclosure’) made by the child, a parent or some other person -through signs and symptoms which are suggestive of physical abuse or neglect -or through observations of child behaviour or parent child interaction. However it presents, any concerns should be taken seriously and appropriate action taken Because of the frequency of injuries to areas routinely examined during a dental check-up, the dentist has an important role in intervening on behalf of an abused child. It is assumed that the dentist will be examining a child who is fully dressed

  14. Physical Abuse ; Accidental injuries Involve bony prominences Head injuries tend to involve the parietal bone, occiput or forehead Knees, Shins, nose, Palm of hand, elbows match the history are in keeping with the development of the child Orofacial trauma occurs in at least 50% of children diagnosed with physical abuse. It is always important to remember that a child with one injury may have further injuries that are not visible so, where possible, arrangements should be made for the child to have a comprehensive medical examination

  15. Physical Abuse: Typical sites of non-accidental injury Concerns are raised by: injuries to both sides of the body injuries to soft tissue injuries with particular patterns any injury that doesn’t fit the explanation delays in presentation untreated injuries Ears – especially pinch marks involving both sides of the ear The “triangle of safety” (ears, side of face, and neck, top of shoulders): accidental injuries in this area are unusual Inner aspects of arms

  16. Physical Abuse: Typical sites of non-accidental injury cont.… Back and side of trunk, except directly over the bony spine Black eyes, especially if bilateral Soft tissues of cheeks Intra-oral injuries Forearms when raised to protect self Chest and abdomen Any groin or genital injury Inner aspects of thighs Soles of feet

  17. Bruising Accidental falls rarely cause bruises to the soft tissues of the cheek but instead tend to involve the skin overlying bony prominences such as the forehead or cheekbone. Inflicted bruises may occur at typical sites or fit recognisable patterns. Bruising in babies or children who are not independently mobile are a cause for concern. Multiple bruises in clusters or of uniform shape are suggestive of physical abuse and may occur with older injuries. Bruises on the ear may result from being pinched or pulled by the ear and there may be a matching bruise on its posterior surface. Bruises or cuts on the neck may result from choking or strangling by a human hand, cord or collar. Accidents to this site are rare and should be looked upon with suspicion

  18. Abrasions and lacerations Abrasions and lacerations on the face in abused children may be caused by a variety of objects but are most commonly due to rings or fingernails on the inflicting hand. Such injuries are rarely confined to the orofacial structures. Accidental facial abrasions and lacerations are usually explained by a consistent history, such as falling off a bicycle, and are often associated with injuries at other sites, such as knees and elbows

  19. Burns Approximately 10% of physical abuse cases involve burns. Burns to the oral mucosa can be the result of forced ingestion of hot or caustic fluids in young children. Burns from hot solid objects applied to the face are usually without blister formation and the shape of the burn often resembles the implement used. Cigarette burns result in circular, punched out lesions of uniform size

  20. Bite marks Human bite marks are identified by their shape and size They may appear only as bruising, or as a pattern of abrasions and lacerations. They may be caused by other children, or by adults in assault or as an inappropriate form of punishment. Sexually orientated bite marks occur more frequently in adolescents and adults. Teeth marks that do not break the skin can disappear within 24 hours but may persist for longer. In those cases where the skin is broken, the borders or edges will be apparent for several days depending on the thickness of the tissue. Thinner tissues retain the marks longer. A bite mark presents a unique opportunity to identify the perpetrator

  21. Eye injuries Periorbital bruising in children is uncommon and should raise suspicions, particularly if bilateral. Ocular damage in child physical abuse includes acute hyphema (bleeding in the anterior chamber of the eye), dislocated lens, traumatic cataract and detached retina. More than half of these injuries result in permanent impairment of vision affecting one or both eyes

  22. Bone fractures Fractures resulting from abuse may occur in almost any bone including the facial skeleton. (single or multiple) Most fractures in physically abused children occur under the age of 3. In contrast, accidental fractures occur more commonly in children of school age. Facial fractures are relatively uncommon in children When abuse is suspected, the presence of any fracture is an indication for a full skeletal radiographic survey. A child who has suffered sustained physical abuse may have multiple fractures at different stages of healing

  23. Intra-oral injuries Penetrating injuries to the palate, vestibule and floor of the mouth can occur during forceful feeding of young infants Bruising and laceration of the upper labial frenum is not uncommon in a young child who falls while learning to walk or in older children due to other accidental trauma However, a frenum tear in a very young non-ambulatory patient (less than 1 year) should arouse suspicion . It may be produced by a direct blow to the mouth and may remain hidden unless the lip is carefully everted. Any accompanying facial bruising or abrasions should also be meticulously noted. Damage to the primary or permanent teeth can be due to blunt trauma. Such injuries are often accompanied by local soft tissue lacerations and bruising. The age of the child and the history of the incident are crucial in determining the cause

  24. Differential diagnosis Child physical abuse is never made on the basis of one sign The lesions of impetigo may look similar to cigarette burns, Birthmarks can be mistaken for bruising and conjunctivitis can be mistaken for trauma. Children who are said to bruise easily and extensively should be screened for bleeding disorders. Unexplained, multiple or frequent fractures may rarely be due to osteogenesis imperfect Conditions that may mimic physical abuse: Birth marks Infections e.g. scabies, impetigo Unintentional injury Bleeding disorders Osteogenesisimperfecta

  25. Emotional abuse: Markers of emotional abuse Poor growth Developmental delay Educational failure Social immaturity Lack of social responsiveness Aggression Attachment disorders (both anxious and avoidant) Indiscriminate friendliness Challenging behaviour Attention difficulties

  26. Sexual abuse Sexual abuse is an abuse of power and may be perpetrated by male and female adults, teenagers and older children. Unless there are intraoral signs of sexual abuse or the child discloses abuse, a dentist is most likely to detect the problem through emotional or behavioural signs. The intraoral signs associated with sexual abuse include: erythema, ulceration and vesicle formation arising from gonorrhoea or other sexually transmitted diseases, and erythema and petechiae at the junction of the hard and soft palate which may indicate oral sex

  27. Presentation of sexual abuse: Direct allegation Sexually transmitted infection Pregnancy Trauma Emotional and behavioural signs: delayed development anxiety and depression psychosomatic indicators self-harm soiling or wetting inappropriate sexual behaviour or knowledge running away drug, solvent or alcohol abuse

  28. Neglect: markers of neglect The child needs: Nutrition Warmth, clothing, shelter Safe environment Hygiene and health care Stimulation and education Affection Effects of neglect: Failure to thrive ,short stature Inappropriate clothing, cold injury, sunburn Frequent injury e.g. burns, cuts from matches/knives Ingrained dirt ( finger nails),head lice, dental caries Developmental delay Withdrawn or attention seeking behaviour

  29. Vulnerable groups Certain individuals or groups of children may be more vulnerable to abuse or neglect because of risk factors in their family or environment, or because of the way they are perceived by their carers It is important, however, not to stigmatize families because of the presence of particular risk factors Whilst the risks of maltreatment may be higher, the majority of children within these vulnerable groups are loved and cared for and do not experience abuse The following factors are important; Parental factors (Young or single parents, parents with learning difficulties, those who themselves have experienced adverse childhoods Social factors (Families living in adverse social environments, for example due to poverty, social isolation or poor housing may also find it both materially and socially harder to care for their children ) and Child factors (Age, Children with disabilities)

  30. The question of dental neglect “Wilful failure of parent or guardian to seek and follow through with treatment necessary to ensure a level of oral health essential for adequate function and freedom from pain and infection” Many adults visit the dentist only when in pain for emergency treatment and choose not to return for treatment to restore complete oral health. They may choose to use dental services in a similar manner for their children. Dental professionals have traditionally respected this choice and not challenged this behaviour. However, children may suffer dental pain or other adverse consequences as a result and, when young, are reliant on their carers to seek treatment for them. Anecdotally, it is reported that other health professionals who work regularly with children are shocked that the dental team often fails to rigorously follow up such children. American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry

  31. Dental neglect – wilful neglect? When the dental problems have been pointed out and appropriate and acceptable treatment offered, the following may be indicators that give concern: irregular attendance and repeatedly failed appointments failure to complete planned treatment returning in pain at repeated intervals requiring repeated general anaesthesia for extractions.

  32. Dental neglect – general neglect? When assessing whether multiple carious teeth and poor oral hygiene are an indicator of general neglect, the dentist should focus on assessing the impact of dental disease on the individual child Severe dental disease can cause: toothache disturbed sleep difficulty eating or change in food preferences absence from school and may put a child at risk of: -being teased because of poor dental appearance -needing repeated antibiotics -repeated general anaesthetic extractions -severe infection.

  33. Preparation of dental setting to safeguard children Safeguarding children is not just about referring them when you have concerns but is about changing the environment to ensure that risks to children’s welfare are minimised Tips for best practice: Identify a member of staff to take the lead on child protection Adopt a child protection policy Work out a step-by-step guide of what to do if you have concerns Follow best practice in record keeping Undertake regular team training Practice safe staff recruitment

  34. References 1. Costacurta M, Benavoli D, Arcudi G, Docimo R. Oral and dental signs of Child Abuse and neglect. Oral Implantology.2015;8: 68-73 2. Vijayan A, Jayarajan J, Fathima BN, Shaj F. Detecting Child Abuse and Neglect:Are Dentists doing enough to reveal the “ Dirty Secret”. International Journal of preventive and Clinical Dental Research.2014;1(4): 85-92 3. American Academiy of Pediatrics. Oral and Dental Aspects of Child Abuse and Neglect. Joint statement of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Pediatric dentistry. PEDIATRICS.1999; 104 (2): 348-353. 4. UNICEF South Africa. Violent discipline, sexual abuse and homicides stalk millions of children worldwide. Pretoria, South Africa, 1 November 2017  5. Harris J, Sidebotham P, Welbury R. Child protection and the dental team. Assesed on www.childprotectionandthedentalteam.org.uk.

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